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U.S. Government Agency First To Go Google Cloud

The General Services Administration is moving e-mail and collaboration tools to the cloud, becoming the first federal agency to move e-mail to a cloud-based system agencywide, GSA officials said yesterday.

GSA officials expect the migration to the cloud to reduce inefficiencies and lower costs by 50 percent over the next five years.

The agency has awarded Unisys Corp. a $6.7 million, five-year task order under the Alliant Governmentwide Acquisition Contract. Unisys has partnered with Google, Tempus Nova, and Acumen Solutions. GSA will use Google Apps for Government , a suite of cloud computing applications, which received Federal Information Security Management Act  certification and accreditation from the government in July. The Google Apps platform consists of Google Docs, Gmail, spreadsheets, a video tool and Google Sites.

At the time, industry observers anticipated intensified competition between Google and Microsoft to provide cloud-based e-mail service and productivity applications to the federal community.

The contract provides for an easily accessible suite of services, including e-mail and collaboration tools, to support a more mobile work force. While several agencies have moved sub-entities' e-mail systems to the cloud, GSA is the first to utilize a cloud-based system for e-mail agencywide, officials said.

"Cloud computing has a demonstrated track record of cost savings and efficiencies," GSA CIO Casey Coleman said in a prepared statement. "With this award, GSA employees will have a modern, robust e-mail and collaboration platform that better supports our mission and our mobile work force, and costs half as much."

GSA's move to cloud-based e-mail and collaboration tools is also part of a governmentwide effort to utilize more agile, lightweight technology such as cloud computing and shared services to limit the need for expensive, redundant infrastructure.

"GSA's cloud e-mail award is in step with the administration's ‘cloud first' strategy and demonstrates that agile, secure, reliable, and cost-effective cloud options exist to rapidly improve agency operations and services," said Dave McClure, associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is the senior technology editor of Government Computer News (GCN.com).

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